PAKAN: 1Malaysia Sarawak Advisory Council (1MSAC) Chairman who is also Julau Member of Parliament Datuk Joseph Salang Gandum last Friday officiated at the opening of a treated water supply project for the SK Nanga Kara, here to benefit more than 70 students and preschoolers.
In his speech at the event, Salang said rural development projects undertaken by the 1MSAC are meant to compliment similar efforts of the government.
Salang said this was because the council is a social development initiative aimed at improving the livelihood of the state rural communities.
He said 1MSAC was formed in 2013 by the Prime Minister Datuk Sri Najib Tun Razak.
In a recent interview here, he said its members comprising representatives from the Iban( represented by he himself), the Orang Ulu (Datuk Billy Abit Joo), the Bidayuh ( Datuk Anthony Nogeh) and the Malay (Hasbi Habibollah and Irwan Zulkarnain Muhd Hasbie) communities.
“We identify what are the things that we can do to help the people. The projects are selected based on needs and availability of resources,” he said.
In the case of micro hydro project, he said its success depended on the hydrological power potential of river in the chosen area.
“Then again we must ask if the local people are interested. They too must be prepared to participate in the implementation based on the ‘gotong-royong’ (mutual assist) work concept,” he said.
He said when they were personally involved it would give them the feeling of belonging and ownership.
“These would motivate them to protect and maintain the project with greater responsibility for long term benefits,” he said.
The ‘gotong-royong’ concept too would help to significantly reduce the overall expenditures.
“Money is always never enough and we try to stretch whatever we have to reach out to more people rather than concentrating in a few places only,” he said.
Salang said among the popular projects carried out by the Council were micro hydro and treated water supplies.
“These are for longhouses, schools and settlement areas not linked by roads or connected to the state grid.
“These isolated rural communities being part of the 1Malaysia community should not be neglected or left out.
“We must include them in whatever we do. We must be inclusive in the pursuit of national development so that they will stay in the mainstream,” he said.
He added other projects were enhancing rural education with a view to improve on students’ performance in UPSR examination and for the rest in business and sports.
“On UPSR, we have launched a pilot three- year programme for three schools in Julau.
“We aim to elevate the English language proficiency and improving the overall UPSR passing rate for the school. So far the results have been promising,” he said.
On Friday he presented certificates to 60 students from the SK Nanga Dayu, SK Nanga Kota and SK Nanga Kara who had taken part in a UPSR workshop.
Meanwhile he stressed that the Council would not want to do everything based on its own ways or methodologies.
“That is why we work very closely and consult the government agencies concerned, local leaders, stakeholders and the government,” he said.